In the corporate world, the big companies will organize an ergonomic evaluation for their team members, which is excellent because a healthy team member is more productive at work! But what if you’re left to set up your desk yourself? There are 3 important things to keep in mind when setting up your desk, and to always keep in mind while working. These tips will help you avoid unnecessary strain on your body that can lead to injury.
1. Computer height
One of the biggest problems at a desk is having your computer too high or, more commonly, too low. When this happens, we tend to nod our chin down to see the computer, which puts a lot of strain through the neck. Before positioning your screen, make sure your chair and desk height has been adjusted first. Adjust the screen height so that the top of the screen is level with your eyes as you sit upright. If your screen doesn’t have an adjuster, prop the screen up on a solid box or something along those lines. Your screen should be approximately at arms length distance. You can adjust from here to see what distance suits you best.
Position your mouse next to the keyboard, so it’s quickly accessible. Keep the mouse here, if it’s too far away or too close to you, you run the risk of extra strain on the arm and hand. Try to keep the mouse on its mat for smoother gliding. This removes the chances of jerking the arm. When not in use, avoid holding on to the mouse.
When setting up your keyboard, you want to avoid any flexion or extension through the wrists that will eventually cause a strain. You can adjust most keyboards by adding a tilt with the legs at the back to suit your comfort level. Most people tend to find having the keyboard flat suits them most, because of the minimized risk of having the wrists in awkward positions. Keep the keyboard close to the edge of the desk so that you are not stretched out too far, compromising your shoulders, but at the same time you don’t want to feel cramped up. The position you feel most relaxed in is key.
- WorkSafeVic. A guide to health and safety in the office. VIC. WorkSafe; 2001 November 23 [updated 2011 September 6; cited 2015 March 10]. Avail from: http://www.worksafe.vic.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0016/3634/Officewise_web.pdf
- Ergonomics Unit. Ergonomic principles and checklists for the selection of office furniture and equipment. Sydney: Worksafe Australia; 1991 [cited 2015 March 10]. Avail from: http://www.safeworkaustralia.gov.au/sites/swa/about/publications/Documents/31/ErgonomicPrinciplesChecklistsForOfficeFurniture_1991_PDF.pdf
This article is for information purposes only. Please consult your Osteopath or primary healthcare professional for further information.